Philosophers have explored objective interpretations of probability mainly by considering empirical probability statements. Because of this focus, it is widely believed that the logical interpretation and the actual-frequency interpretation are unsatisfactory and the hypothetical-frequency interpretation is not much better. Probabilistic assertions in pure mathematics present a new challenge. Mathematicians prove theorems in number theory that assign probabilities. The most natural interpretation of these probabilities is that they describe actual frequencies in finite sets and limits of actual frequencies in infinite sets. (...) This interpretation vindicates part of what the logical interpretation of probability aimed to establish. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...) more modest than Ultimism; Ietsism, in fact, is open to the truth of Ultimism, while the converse does not hold. Second, Ietsism can fulfil the same criteria that compel Schellenberg to argue for Ultimism. (shrink)
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, (...) the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
This paper is a detailed examination of some parts of J. P. Moreland's book on "the argument from consciousness". (There is a companion article that discusses the parts of the book not taken up in this critical notice.).
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
In the same year, 1961, Peter D. Mitchell and Robert R.J.P. Williams both put forward hypotheses for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. Mitchell's proposal was ultimately adopted and became known as the chemiosmotic theory. Both hypotheses were based on protons and differed markedly from the then prevailing chemical theory originally proposed by E.C. Slater in 1953, which by 1961 was failing to account for a number of experimental observations. Immediately following the publication of Williams (...) 's hypothesis and before his own was published, Mitchell initiated a correspondence. Examination of the letters shows the development of a dispute based on the validity of the proposals, who should have priority and particularly whether Mitchell had drawn on Williams 's work without acknowledgement. We have concluded that Mitchell's proposals were original although it is evident that prior to the correspondence Williams had considered and rejected a proposition similar to Mitchell's theory. However, a major cause of the dispute was the difference in disciplinary backgrounds of Mitchell, a microbial biochemist and Williams, a chemist. (shrink)
J. H. Lambert proved important results of what we now think of as non-Euclidean geometries, and gave examples of surfaces satisfying their theorems. I use his philosophical views to explain why he did not think the certainty of Euclidean geometry was threatened by the development of what we regard as alternatives to it. Lambert holds that theories other than Euclid’s fall prey to skeptical doubt. So despite their satisfiability, for him these theories are not equal to Euclid’s in justification. Contrary (...) to recent interpretations, then, Lambert does not conceive of mathematical justification as semantic. According to Lambert, Euclid overcomes doubt by means of postulates. Euclid’s theory thus owes its justification not to the existence of the surfaces that satisfy it, but to the postulates according to which these “models” are constructed. To understand Lambert’s view of postulates and the doubt they answer, I examine his criticism of Christian Wolff’s views. I argue that Lambert’s view reflects insight into traditional mathematical practice and has value as a foil for contemporary, model-theoretic, views of justification. (shrink)
Reasoning es una obra monumental de más de mil páginas editada en estrecha colaboración por el filósofo Jonathan E. Adler y el psicólogo Lance J. Rips para esclarecer el intrincado campo de investigación relacionado con los fundamentos de la inferencia y, en general, del razonamiento humano. En la actualidad, en pocos casos va unido el trabajo de compilar y editar textos científicos con el afán enciclopédico: un proyecto editorial que sobrepasa con razón los objetivos de la mayor parte de los (...) libros editados para la recopilación de artículos en torno a un mismo tema de investigación. Reasoning supone un empeño de características enciclopédicas: ha conseguido convertirse en una referencia obligada desde que saliera a la luz en 2008 para ofrecer al lector especialista artículos científicos de las más reputadas y consolidadas voces en aquellos campos de conocimiento presentes ya en los proyectos enciclopédicos europeos del siglo de las luces, a saber: el significado del racionalismo, los límites imputables a la naturaleza del conocimiento humano, las paradojas presentes en la inducción, etc. (shrink)
Drawing upon Nel Noddings’ contention that, if children are to be happy in schools, their teachers should also be happy, this paper tries to explore a way in which the obviously intimate but seemingly conflicting connections between students’ and teachers’ happiness can be understood from the viewpoint of Stanley Cavell’s reading of J. S. Mill. Mill’s conceptions of desire and pleasure are examined as a means of liberating the above connection from existing prioritization: that is, teachers’ or students’ happiness comes (...) first. The pursuit of happiness for both teachers and students is discussed, in the hopes of illuminating alternative images of teacher education. (shrink)
This is a response to Wesley J. Wildman’s “Behind, Between, and Beyond Anthropomorphic Models of Ultimate Reality.” While I agree with much of what Wildman writes, I raise questions concerning standards for evaluating models of ultimate reality and the plausibility of ranking such models. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.
This paper explores the relationships between Christianity, Englishness, and ideas about the southern English landscape in the writings of the 1930s and 1940s rural commentator, H.J. Massingham. The paper begins by looking in general terms at the conjunction of religious and national identities in the context of national landscapes before moving on to consider in more detail one particular instance of this in the writing of H.J. Massingham. Massingham's understanding of a divine natural order, his construction of a kind of (...) 'divine Englishness' and the way in which he relates this to particular English landscapes is explored. In particular, the paper investigates the natural, social and political power relationships which are embedded in Massingham's work, and suggests that his writing provides an interesting example of one way in which theological reasoning can reflect and reinforce concepts of a naturally ordered national identity. (shrink)
Celebrated for disproving the traditional view that lack of oxygen at birth (perinatal asphyxia) contributes significantly to cerebral palsy, a 1986 New England Journal of Medicine article by Karin Nelson and Jonas Ellenberg engineered a new consensus in the medical community: that lack of oxygen at birth rarely causes cerebral palsy. We demonstrate that the article's central argument relies on straightforwardly fallacious statistical reasoning, and we discuss significant implications -- e.g. how carefully fetuses are monitored during labor and delivery, (...) expert testimony in malpractice cases, and public policy decisions. (shrink)
A. J. Ayer, who died in 1989, was acknowledged as one of Britain's most distinguished philosophers. In this memorial collection of essays leading Western philosophers reflect on Ayer's place in the history of philosophy and explore aspects of his thought and teaching. The volume also includes a posthumous essay by Ayer himself: 'A defence of empiricism'. These essays are undoubtedly a fitting tribute to a major figure, but the collection is not simply retrospective; rather it looks forward to present and (...) future developments in philosophical thought that Ayer's work has stimulated. (shrink)
In this volume, leading scholars in Asian and comparative philosophy take the work of Joel J. Kupperman as a point of departure to consider new perspectives on Confucian ethics. Kupperman is one of the few eminent Western philosophers to have integrated Asian philosophical traditions into his thought, developing a character-based ethics synthesizing Western, Chinese, and Indian philosophies. With their focus on Confucian ethics, contributors respond, expand, and engage in critical dialogue with Kupperman’s views. Kupperman joins the conversation with responses and (...) comments that conclude the volume. (shrink)